Large crowd turns out for UFOC request, decision to come later this month

A large crowd turned out to the Cache County Council’s meeting last night to support the Utah Festival Opera Company in its request for $400,000 in tax dollars to help the company survive the economic recession.No decision was made by the County Council, but a decision will likely come later this month after a public hearing on the issue.Council Chairman Craig Peterson told the crowd that he is a member of a committee that’s been formed to come up with a recommendation on the opera company’s request. Peterson said the committee will be meeting today, and they could come up with their recommendation at the meeting.”As soon as the recommendation is available, we’ll make it public so the people can think about it, critic it,” Peterson said. “I would suggest at our meeting two weeks from tonight that we hold a public hearing, but that the public hearing would be confined specifically to the recommendation.”Opera founder and General Director Michael Ballam spoke at Tuesday’s meeting and reiterated to the council that his company had explored all their options for raising the funds.”We’ve sent up twice as many (fundraising) requests as we ever have in history … the money is just not available,” Ballam said. “We would like to balance the books this year; you are simply our last hope.”Ballam said the one option the opera company wouldn’t consider, however, was going into debt.”This company was founded on the premise that we would not go into deficit,” he said. The public hearing and a possible official decision will come at the council’s next meeting on June 23.

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